Depression and glycemic intake in the homebound elderly

D. Mkaya Mwamburi, Elizabeth Liebson, Marshal Folstein, Kathleen Bungay, Katherine L. Tucker, Wei Qiao Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Depression is associated with an increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes, but the mechanism is unclear. We aimed to study the relationship between depression and glycemic intake in the elderly, and examine whether antidepressant use modified this relationship. Design, setting and participants: We evaluated 976 homebound elders in a cross-sectional study. Depression was defined by having a Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) score ≥ 16. Antidepressant use was documented. Glycemic index (GI), Glycemic load (GL), and fasting blood insulin levels were measured. Results: Depressed elders had slightly higher GI (Mean ± SD: 55.8 ± 3.8 vs. 55.1 ± 3.7, P = 0.003) and higher insulin levels (Median: 84.0 vs. 74.4 pmol/ml, P = 0.05) than non-depressed elders. Depressed elders receiving antidepressants, primarily selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), had lower GI (Mean ± SD: 55.1 ± 4.7 vs. 56.2 ± 3.4, P = 0.002) and GL (Median: 170.3 vs. 6826.3, P = 0.03) than those not taking antidepressants. After adjusting for potential confounding variables, GI remained positively associated with depression (β = + 0.65, SE = 0.28, P = 0.02); the logarithm of GL was positively associated with depression (β = + 0.33, SE = 0.17, P = 0.05) and negatively associated with antidepressant use (β = - 0.54, SE = 0.18, P = 0.003). Conclusions: Prospective studies are needed to examine whether high glycemic intake is a mediating factor between late life depression and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-98
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Antidepressants
  • Depression
  • Elderly
  • Glycemic intake
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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